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8: Are there reliable sources of information that can be recommended?

There is no single information source for all diseases and treatments. To apply the principles in this book, readers may want to develop some skills themselves. For example, the book Smart Health Choices [5] gives some tips on how to find good information, and what to check for.

Of the websites available, few are largely based on systematic reviews. Some that are include the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, which has lay summaries, and the IQWIG website (in German, but also translated into English). In addition, there are many websites that generally provide good information but are not always based on systematic reviews of the best available evidence – for example, NHS Choices and PubMed Health both provide high-quality information.

Of course, there is also a lot to be wary of. In particular, watch out for conflicts of interest, such as sites that might financially benefit from people believing the information or others that try to sell something. This can be hard to detect, however – for example, some patient groups have undeclared funding from pharmaceutical companies and that can taint the information provided.

Next: 9: How should people avoid being ‘labelled’ with an ‘illness’ and getting unnecessary treatments?